Russian government approves controversial highway project

21:05, December 14, 2010      

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The Russian government gave a final approval Tuesday to a controversial project of a highway construction that would cut through a suburban forest.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the project was given a green light despite the protests of the local residents, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The decision must be now approved by the President Dmitry Medvedev.

Sergei Ivanov said the 8-km road will be completed in 2013. The French road-building company Vinci will pay 4 billion rubles (about 130 million U.S. dollars) for environmental protection works and restoration of the wood razed, he added.

Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev said that the remnants of the Khimki forest would be given a status of specially protected territory after the road is completed.

In this August, Medvedev ordered to postpone the construction works until the specially appointed government commission would assess all merits and demerits of the project.

Mass protests of the local residents against the razing of the forest in Moscow's suburb Khimki have led to clashes with police.

The new project is expected to elevate dismal traffic situation on the road connecting Moscow with Sheremetyevo international airport.

Source: Xinhua
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